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Janet Scrimgeour, Scottish Migrant, 1854

Wedding Veil - Limerick Lace, 1856

Image: Wedding Veil - Limerick Lace, 1856

Source: Museum Victoria

Janet Scrimgeour was born in 1845 in Creiff, Perthshire in Scotland. In 1854 she migrated to Australia with her father Alexander, a mason, her mother Henrietta and her brother William. After arriving on the ship Hilton, they settled in Bendigo, Victoria. In 1865 Janet married Peter Franz Brackelmann in Bendigo. For the wedding Janet wore the Limerick lace wedding veil, which is believed to have been ordered and imported from Ireland for the wedding.

Peter had migrated from Schlaswig Holstein in Denmark, to try his luck on the goldfields. He appears to have prospered, owning a couple of mines and a number of stores in Bendigo along with his German business partner Johann Koopman. Peter and Janet had three children, Annie Margarethe (1866-1959), Henrietta (1867-1904) and Peter (1869-1910).

After Peter's death Janet married Johann Koopman in 1872, her husband having left her well provided for. Janet and Johann had four children together, however Johann also died (it is thought both Peter and Johann were afflicted by 'miner's complaint' of the lungs) and Janet married Englishman, John Harvey, in 1893. Janet remained in Bendigo throughout her married lives, finally moving to South Melbourne, to live with her daughter. She died in 1941.

The Limerick lace veil worn by Janet for her wedding was made in Limerick, Ireland in the 1850s and is a delicate style that lends itself well to the lightness needed in a wedding veil. This veil, worn by Janet Scrimgeour for her wedding in 1865 to Peter Franz Brackelmann, has been worn by over 100 women from five generations of the family since Janet's wedding in 1865.

These women include Janet's daughters by her first husband, Annie Margarethe Brackelmann Crocker and Henrietta. Annie Margarethe had no daughters but the brides of her three sons, including George, all wore the veil. The donor, Annie Myrtle (Nancy) Crocker Davies Maslen (daughter of George and Vera Crocker) was the 100th bride to wear the veil and became the final keeper of the precious family heirloom. She and her four sisters all donned the veil at weddings which spanned from 1934 to 1958. The veil was also worn by Nancy's daughter Jean at Ascot House, Ascot Vale in 1958. The last bride to wear the veil was a niece of Nancy's, who married during the 1990s. After this wedding it was decided the veil was too fragile to be worn any longer and it was offered to the Museum.

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